Winter 2012
This semester, our students reminded us of how powerful youth voices can be in inspiring others and creating change. GK students give us hope for our future - we hope you'll feel the same when you read their stories below.
GK Leader Maya Faison Testifies Before United Nations' COP18 Panel
maya cop18
Maya prepares for her COP18 video conference from her high school in Queens.
Sitting in darkness on November 2nd, cold and bewildered in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, 16-year-old Maya Faison received a phone call from Global Kids' Director of Human Rights Education to ask if she would be willing to write an article about her experience during the storm. Maya had been working with Global Kids' Human Rights Activist Project (HRAP) for over a year, helping to lead a campaign to hold world leaders accountable for environmental promises they had made in the past, and GK's Director knew she had the ability to bring a new perspective to the storm's destruction.
 
The resulting piece, entitled "This Is the Future I Want," was published and shared widely on online venues such as Think Progress and The Huffington Post. Following the attention in the press, Maya was asked to share her story a second time at an event co-hosted by the U.S. State Department on the topic of Youth Facing Climate Change Across the U.S. She spoke via video link on a laptop computer during the gathering, which was part of the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar. During her speech, Maya described the pain of losing her uncle, who died after falling down a darkened stairwell the day after Sandy. Drawing on her experience, she said, "Most times we are oblivious to the destruction that comes along with the changing climate and severe weather conditions. The storm made it clear to us New Yorkers that climate change is not only real but it affects us, too."
Youth Climate Activists Host Human Rights Panel at NYU
GK Leaders Massiel Perez and Dave Syfrain respond to questions about the Rio+20 Conference. Photo by Neha Gautam, 2012
Over fifty students and young professionals attended Global Kids' panel on "Youth, Climate Activism, and Human Rights" in honor of International Human Rights Day, December 10th. The event was hosted by GK Leaders Makayla Comas and Shaquille Smith at NYU's historic Puck Building. The discussion focused on possibilities for youth action on climate recovery and the impact of climate change on our lives today. Sitting on the panel were Lonna Dawson from The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), Kelly Matheson from WITNESS, and two youth climate activists,Massiel Perez and Dave Syfrain, who attended the Rio+20 Conference for Sustainable Development last summer with Global Kids. 
What Does Human Rights Mean to You?
What Does Human Rights Mean to You?
Students from Wingate Campus High Schools created a video to explore that question.

According to one GK trainer who attended the event, "Students were so inspired. Walking to the subway, I could hear tidbits of their conversations about starting a climate change campaign at their school and making sure their voices were heard." Global Kids would like to thank the Wagner Environmental Policy and Action (WEPA) Association as well as our own Young Leaders Advisory Council for their contributions to this event.
Students Head to DC to Hear Human Rights Activist Aung San Suu Kyi Speak at Amnesty International
GK students on Aung San Suu Kyi Town Hall
A group of GK students from the High School for Global Citizenship were honored to hear Burmese Dissident and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi speak at an event hosted by Amnesty International this September in Washington, D.C. This was the first time Dr. Suu Kyi had visited the US in over 20 years, following her political imprisonment in 1989. At the event, Suu Kyi impressed students with her commitment to human rights and emphasis on government transparency. Click on the video link above to watch two Global Kids' students reflect on their experience at the event!
One Billion Rising Youth Task Force
Bianca Belony speaks about her reasons for joining the campaign. 
Photo by Neha Gautam, 2012
Nearly 60 youth from all over New York City gathered on November 30th at the Global Kids offices to learn about One Billion Rising, the global campaign to bring an end to violence against women. Over 170 countries are planning events on February 14th, 2013 to dance, strike, and rise as a call to action. Global Kids plans to lead some of New York City youth efforts for the campaign by organizing trainings, talks, and dance demonstrations at public spaces throughout the city. 
Students Lobby for Rights of Families
On December 12th, GK-DC leaders David, Merobi, and Carlos from Columbia Heights Educational Campus represented their Global Kids at the "A Wish for the Holidays" Congressional Day of Action on immigrant rights. Prior to the event, the youth wrote letters asking Congress to change immigration laws that separate families and educated their peers about the issue. The GK leaders then delivered these letters to the Hill, advocating their cause to Congress members and their staffers.
Alumna Leydi Bautista prepares to speak before Congress.

 

In a separate event, GK Alumna Leydi Bautista spoke at a Congressional briefing about her struggles and successes as a young mother of two. The briefing, entitled "Poderosa Parents: Young Mothers Talk about the Impact of the Federal Budget, Health, Education and Immigration Policy on their Lives, their Families and their Futures," was organized by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. We are so proud of Leydi for embracing this activist role in her community.

Global Kids Welcomes Jack Martin & Catalina Talero
GK is thrilled to welcome two new members to our leadership team! Jack Martin is joining GK as our Associate Director of Online Leadership Programs. Jack comes to Global Kids from the New York Public Library, where he helped to develop NYC Haunts, GK's geolocative mobile gaming program for middle school students. In addition, we are pleased to welcome Catalina Talero, who is heading Global Kids' operations in Washington as our DC Program Director. Catalina is a former Fulbright Scholar, joining GK from the U.S. Department of Education, where she oversaw grant programs in Latin America and Canada. We know you will be as impressed with Jack and Catalina as we are and we hope you'll join us in welcoming them to the GK family!
GK to Travel to Bosnia in 2013
Global Kids is honored to be a grantee of the U.S. Department of State's 2013 American Youth Leadership Program (AYLP) to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through this exciting program, GK Leaders will have the opportunity to travel to Bosnia to investigate the media's role in shaping local and global issues. Global Kids and its partners will connect twenty youth and adults from New York City with a peer group in Bosnia to explore the country's recent history and contemporary issues. Together, they will develop skills in media literacy, leadership, peer education, and cross-cultural communication. The 10-month program involves pre-departure training, a three-week experience in Bosnia, and a follow-on project. Click here to learn more about the program. Educators interested in joining the group as adult participants may download an application here.
 
In This Issue:
GK Testifies at COP18
NYU Human Rights Panel
Aung San Suu Kyi
One Billion Women Rising
Welcome Jack & Catalina
GK Heads to Bosnia
Student Spotlight: Taylor Ware
Student Spotlight: Kevin Sanchez
Global Kids' Impact Goes Beyond Graduation
 95% of GK alumni say that Global Kids helped increase their civic and community engagement.
 
Student Spotlight: Taylor Ware 

 

 

Taylor joined Global Kids' Young Leaders on the Rise program in 9th grade at the High School for Global Citizenship and became active in GK's Human Rights Activist Project during her sophomore year, where she contributed to the group's campaign to ban fracking in New York State. However it wasn't until Taylor attended GK's U.S. in the World Summer Institute this summer that she really discovered her passion for social justice. At the Institute, Taylor was enthralled by a presentation on conflict minerals by Kambale Musavuli, National Spokesperson for Friends of the Congo. She claims Musavuli's presentation "opened her eyes" to the issue. After the Institute, Taylor committed herself to raising awareness about the conflict in the Congo. She hung posters and organized a petition at her school during Congo Week and gave presentations to different classrooms on International Day of the Girl Child. According to Taylor, "it was really fun seeing them get interested and wanting to know what they can do to help." Taylor hopes to continue her education on conflict zones by attending GK's Bosnia program this summer.

 

Student Spotlight:
Kevin Sanchez

 

Global Kids is thrilled to welcome Kevin as the newest youth representative to our Board of Directors. Kevin has been involved with Global Kids' program at Bryant High School for the past three years and is an active advocate for environmental justice in his community in Queens. This summer, he helped facilitate a town hall meeting on environmental policies with State Senator Michael Gianaris and State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas. He has participated in both Global Kids' U.S. in the World Summer Institute and the Greening Western Queens Summer Institute. Last year, he facilitated a workshop on Climate Change at Global Kids' Annual Youth Conference. When asked what he likes most about GK's programs, Kevin replied, "Global Kids awakens both the child and the adult in you. People here challenge you and they analyze your thoughts." After graduation, Kevin hopes to attend college to study psychology so that he can become a role model to people in need of support.

 

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